Germany announced a temporary shutdown of 7 nuclear plants. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that all 7 of the country’s nuclear power plants which began operation before 1980 would be provisionally shut down. The decision comes amid fears sparked by the crisis under way at Japan’s tsunami-stricken nuclear power plant.

A previous government decided a decade ago to shut all 17 German nuclear plants by 2021, but Merkel’s administration last year moved to extend their lives by an average 12 years. That decision was suspended for three months on Monday.

She also told a news conference that all German reactors would undergo checks and all safety questions about the plants would be answered by June 15.

On Tuesday there is an emergency meeting of European Union nuclear safety authorities and operators to assess Europe’s preparedness in case of an emergency.

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